Despite having the highest rate of police shooting deaths in the nation, New Mexico’s governor is trying to pass a law giving legal immunity to cops who kill and abuse.
Governor Susana Martinez, a former prosecutor, says the law would protect taxpayers from having to pay settlements resulting from police abuse.
But who is going to protect the taxpayers from the cops?
Obviously, not her.
“I don’t believe that police officers should be under this constant threat of lawsuits that will often cause them to pause,” Martinez recently told The Albuquerque Journal.
“If they’re following their training, there should be something that protects them.”
Training? What training?
It was just over three years ago that the United States Department of Justice determined the Albuquerque Police Department had long maintained “a culture of aggression” towards the citizens they were sworn to protect and serve.
Not only was it one of the most violent departments in the nation, it was one of the most undertrained.
In addition to use of force practices, The Justice Department’s investigation found that officers routinely use deadly force and less lethal force in an unreasonable manner and that systemic deficiencies in policies, training, supervision, and oversight contributed to the pattern or practice.
But after spending millions of tax dollars, the department now says it is fully trained.
Last year, in fact, Albuquerque cops fired their guns just seven times, the fewest in seven years, according to the Albuquerque Journal.
Not surprisingly, the governor’s announcement was met with criticism.
“Standing up for officers who are using excessive force and violating the Constitution is exactly the wrong way to move,” Steven Robert Allen, the public policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union in New Mexico, told the Albuquerque Journal.
“I don’t know what problem the governor thinks she’s addressing, but she seems to be going in the wrong direction.”
But Martinez, serving her final term, disagreed.
“This bill would protect citizens and law enforcement officers from the massive payouts that taxpayers are giving crooks and thieves who are hurt or injured by police officers who are doing their job,” Martinez said.
But many of those payouts were approved by juries after hearing and seeing all the evidence. And they just happen to be taxpayers.
Other settlements were approved by the city to keep the case from going to a jury trial, including the $5 million settlement issued to the family of James Boyd, a homeless man killed by Albuquerque police in 2014 after they confronted him for camping in the foothills.
Check out the two videos below for more insight into the killing of Boyd.